Joyce Carol Oates Says Marilyn Monroe Went Through ‘Much Worse’ Than Shown in ‘Blonde’

Joyce Carol Oates reacted to the NC-17 (17+) rating of Blonde. He commented that what Marilyn Monroe actually experienced was “much worse” than anything shown in the film.

Netflix’s new psychological drama biopic starring Ana de Armas as the Hollywood icon is based on Oates’ 2000 novel of the same name.

Upon its theatrical release, it received mixed reviews. Amanda Whiting from The Independent argued that “’Blonde’ is not a film about take advantage of Marilyn Monroe, but a new milestone in Hollywood’s treatment of her: a sex object reduced to a sex organ.”

However, it has received a lot of attention for its sexual content rating in the US, meaning that no one under the age of 17 can watch it. Ana de Armas does not agree with this.

In a recent interview with the New Yorker, Oates said that while he “has no particular feelings” regarding the rating, he clarified that “the actual things that happened to Marilyn Monroe were far worse than anything in the movie.”

“The notorious movie star has long established herself as a tragic figure, a woman abused by Hollywood studios, her husband Joe DiMaggio and, as a child, her sick mother,” writes Whiting, adding that “rather than defying conventional narrative ,” director Andrew Dominik “takes it to an even darker and even more invasive place.”

Ana de Armas in ‘Blonde’


Speaking on the subject, Oates explained, “It’s not a feel-good movie. Many movies about Marilyn Monroe are upbeat and have lots of music and songs. She is very beautiful and sweet. This movie is perhaps closer to what she actually lived through. The last days of her life were brutal.

The 84-year-old author also praised Dominik’s film as a “work of art”, commenting, “I think Andrew’s vision is parallel to mine, or identical to mine. But he also made a movie that is unique.”

Blonde premieres on Netflix on September 28.

By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at